Oil Pulling: Modern Fad or Ancient Forgotten Knowledge?
Oil pulling, the process of swishing an edible cooking oil around in the mouth for 15-20 minutes daily, has recently been gaining popularity in the U.S.. Oil pulling seems to have originated in India as part of the medical tradition of Ayurveda around 3000 years ago. But what is it, and does it really do what people say it does?
How Is Oil Pulling Performed?
The process for oil pulling is as follows:
Possible Benefits of Oil Pulling
There are a host of benefits that people believe oil pulling can give them. Some of the more common of these include:
There are those who feel that oil pulling can even improve various internal conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Does Oil Pulling Really Work?
There have been some interesting studies on oil pulling that indicate that there may be some benefit to doing it.
In one study, 20 teenage boys who suffered from gingivitis because of plaque were randomly placed into two groups. One group did oil pulling with sesame oil daily while the other used chlorhexidine (a common cleanser in mouthwash). The results showed that both groups of boys showed significant reduction of plaque, gingivitis, and plaque-causing organisms in their mouths at the end of a 10-day period. In fact, the oil pulling group had statistically equal results as the mouthwash group did (
When coconut oil, sesame oil, and sunflower oil were tested against 3 different organisms that are commonly found in plaque, coconut oil reduced the numbers of 2 of them while the others reduced only 1 each (
More research is necessary to determine whether oil pulling has health benefits other than reducing microbe numbers in the mouth.
Tips for Oil Pulling
If you decide to give oil pulling a try, consider the following tips as you prepare.
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